What is laser hair reduction?
Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulation of Radiation. A laser is an energy-based device which can selectively target hair follicles to stop hair growth in the treated area.
Laser hair reduction is one of the most popular treatments for removing unwanted hair on the face and body for both men and women.
It can offer long term results in the reduction of excess hair, saving time and money by removing the need to regularly shave, wax or epilate.
Areas commonly treated are the legs, underarms, back, bikini line, chin, stomach and buttocks.
Results can be permanent but occasionally maintenance treatments are required to maintain results, particularly with hormonal hair growth, such as facial hirsutism, in women. We use the LightSheer device from Lumenis, a leader in laser and energy-based technologies.
What does laser hair reduction treatment involve?
Laser hair reduction treatment means delivering laser energy into the hair follicle to destroy the hair and prevent further growth. The laser light is absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair follicle which is what makes treatment so precise. Because hair grows in cycles, multiple treatments, based six weeks apart, are usually required.
You will be asked to wear protective eye googles for your treatment. Any residual hair in the treatment area will be shaved beforehand.
During treatment, you will feel a short, sharp pinging sensation when the laser is fired, this is often likened to being flicked with an elastic band. You may also feel some heat from the laser energy although a cooling gel is applied to maximise comfort.
The treatments are fairly quick and are generally well-tolerated, with most people experiencing minimal to no pain or discomfort, although some areas can be more sensitive than others.
Depending on what area is being treated, treatment can take anywhere from 15 minutes for underarms to an hour for full legs or back. Average sessions are 30-60 minutes.
You will need a course of treatments, on average six, spaced six weeks apart.
Is laser hair reduction safe and is there any recovery time?
Laser hair removal is generally very safe as long as you go to an experienced clinic as, in the wrong hands, lasers can burn or blister the skin or, in very rare cases, can cause scarring or infection. Pigmentation irregularities are another potential side effect from laser treatment.
Before treatment we do a thorough consultation to assess your skin type and take your medical history to make sure you are suitable for treatment. We will also perform a patch test before going ahead with treatment.
You may experience some redness or heat in the area that has been treated immediately after laser hair removal, however, this usually only lasts for a couple of hours.
Because lasers for hair removal target pigment in the hair follicle, sometimes those with dark skin and dark hair may not be suitable.
Those with very fair blond, white or grey hair may also not be suitable. You will need a course of treatments, on average six, spaced six weeks apart.
Your skin can become photosensitive after laser treatment so it is important to avoid the sun and wear and SPF of at least 30 during your course of treatment and for at least four weeks after.
Other contraindications for laser treatment may include:
- Pregnancy and breast feeding
- History of diabetes or immune suppression
- History of skin cancer or keloid scarring
- Recent or planned sun exposure/tanning within four weeks
- Concurrent use of photosensitising drugs
What kind of results can I expect with laser hair reduction?
Laser hair reduction is a very effective treatment for the long-term or permanent reduction of unwanted hair on the face and body. You may start to notice a reduction in hair growth after the first few treatments but a course is required to achieve the maximum benefit as our hair grows in cycles.